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State Slams Aaron’s Rentals for $28 Million

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Aaron's, the nation's second-largest rent-to-own business, will pay $28.4 million to settle allegations it violated consumer laws and installed spyware on rented computers, California's attorney general said Monday.

Aaron's must pay $25 in refunds to customers who signed lease agreements between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2014, and pay $3.4 million in penalties and fees, according to the stipulated judgment in Superior Court.

About 100,000 Californians will be eligible for restitution, Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. The company has about 75 outlets in California.

California accused the Atlanta-based company of charging improper late fees, and overcharging customers who paid off contracts early.

It also claims that Aaron's violated state privacy laws by allowing its franchised story to install spyware on rented computers.

"A feature in the spyware program called 'Detective Mode,' which was installed without consumers' consent or knowledge, allowed the Aaron's franchisees to remotely monitor keystrokes, capture screenshots, track the physical location of consumers and even activate the rented computer's webcam," the Attorney General's Office said.

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